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CES 2016: Yaccarino Says Partnerships Help NBCU Transform

Complete Coverage: CES 2016

Forming partnerships is one way to help a large media company like NBCU reinvent itself and survive in disruptive times in the media business.

Speaking at a panel at the Consumer Electronics Show, Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships at NBCU said that while NBCU today is a big company reaching a broad swath of the audience. But in order to reach and be relevant to newer younger audiences, NBCU has formed relationships with, and invested in, digital media companies like Vox and Buzzfeed.

“You have to have your hand in many pots because of the ways consumer are changing,” Yaccarino said.

Since NBCU was acquired by Comcast five years ago, NBCU has spent more on content that Comcast spent to buy NBCU. That investment “convinces our customers we’re in this for the long haul," she said.

But she said you have to “widen your aperture on content” to stay up on pop culture and make it right for the platform. In fact, Yaccarino said, “I’m surprised our competitors have not done many” of these types of deals.

Yaccarino recalled that talk with AOL about programmatic advertising (“programmatic was an f-word to broadcasters back then,” she noted) led to a content distribution agreement, which led to a content co-development relationship with AOL.

“It’s an incredible experience to see HuffPost talent on the air,” she said.

It all happened very fast, especially considering AOL is to some degree a competitor or “frenemy.” Despite that, they’ve found ways to get along and survive,” she said.